Can Crochet be Machine Made? The Crochet Machine Explained.

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Can Crochet Be Machine Made? Crochet is a method of creating fabric by interlocking loops of yarn, thread, or other string using a wood, metal or plastic hook. Because every loop is worked by hand, crocheting is a labor of love, taking several hours to product a single piece of finished work.

But you might wonder if there’s a faster way. Can crochet be machine made?

For people or businesses that sell crocheted items, a machine that can recreate handmade projects would be almost magical. After all, crochet projects take hours to make. Because of the time that goes into each piece, crochet garments almost never fetch a high enough price to pay a fair wage to the craftsperson who made them.

Machine-made crochet seems reasonable enough. They would produce more items, more reliably, at and at a lower cost, just like everything else.

Machines that mimic hand knitting, quilting, embroidery and sewing already exist.

So why not a machine to make crochet?

What is Crochet, Anyway?

The name “crochet”  is derived from the French term crochet, meaning “small hook”. 

Crochet is a technique that uses loops of yarn or string to make a unique fabric. It’s used for home décor as well as functional pieces of clothing, bags, hats, and gloves. Crocheters use a process of pulling interlocking loops of yarn through each other with a long, thin hook. 

It’s a very flexible method of creating – it can be used to make tiny keychain sized objects, or a blanket big enough to cover a football field (yes, really!)

Crochet differs from knitting in that each stitch is completed before the next one is begun, while knitting keeps all active stitches open on the needle at the same time.

Though it’s hundreds of years old, the art of crochet is as popular today as it ever was. Since the 1800’s, it’s remained popular as a way to to make decorative items, garments, blankets, and accessories out of various natural fibers. It’s still a popular form of needlework in much of the world, especially in Europe and North America. It is also popular in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Brazil.

There’s just something special about having a one of a kind, handmade item, right?

crop craftswoman with hook crocheting at home
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Photo by Miriam Alonso on Pexels.com

Why Crochet Cannot Be Replicated by Machine

Perhaps surprisingly, crochet cannot be made mechanically. I’ll try to explain why below, but if you’re curious, I would recommend having a look at this article – really gets into all the technical details.

Can Crochet Be Machine Made? Nope – here’s why.

The intricate patterns created by hand crocheting cannot be recreated by machine because of the way the yarn is looped through the fabric. It takes a great deal of practice to perfect crochet even though the tools used are simple enough.

When crocheting, crafters pull the yarn through the fabric and then looped around itself, creating a secure stitch. This process cannot be replicated by machine because the yarn needs to be pulled through the fabric in a specific way in order to create the loop.

Additionally, poking the crochet hook through the existing crocheting stitches requires a certain amount of skill. The precision and dexterity needed is something machines simply cannot compete with yet.

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Knitted Fabric
Photo by Karolina Ostrzolek

Can Knitting Machines Crochet?

Many people who are not familiar with the craft see crochet and knitting as pretty much the same thing. And while they do produce a similar looking fabric, they’re two distinct skills. The big difference is that knitting is done one 2 needles, while crochet is done on a single hook.

A knitting machine works great to knit, but not so much to crochet.

Now, there is a company called Comez that makes industrial fabric machines that are called “crochet”, but they’re actually warp knitting machines.

Machine knitting can be done, but true crochet machines don’t exist!

If Machines Know How to Knit, Why Can’t Crochet Be Done by a Machine?

Flatbed knitting machines are able to create fabric by interlocking loops of yarn. The machine consists of a needle bed, which holds a series of needles, and a shuttle, which moves back and forth across the needle bed.

As the shuttle moves, it picks up loops of yarn and passes them over the needles. The needles then interlock the loops of yarn, creating a row of stitches. [LINK ]

Unlike knitting, crochet requires a single needle to wrap the yarn around itself, and pull it through a small loop, one stitch at a time. Different crochet stitches are also alternated through the piece, and tension needs to be tighter or looser depending on the stitch.

This requires the crocheter to change techniques often, making mechanical crochet out of the question.

Crochet Granny Squares
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Crochet Granny Squares
Photo by Joony

Crochet Labor Problem for Target 

Crafts are not usually a controversial topic, but when Target started selling a crochet granny square sweater, it made headlines.

Granny Squares Done by Machine?

Crocheters know that granny squares have to be made by hand, and for fast fashion brands to sell them so cheaply seemed suspicious. In order for Target to sell a handmade sweater, they had to be underpaying their workers.

Someone was not getting paid what their labour was actually worth.

Could Crochet be Done by a Machine In the Future?

Like machine knitting, a machine that could crochet would reduce the time (and therefor cost) of making the craft.

I’ve always wondered whether robotic technology will eventually be able to make the poke, loop, pull action of working the yarn. It seems unlikely that this complicated and expensive invention will be top priority for engineers any time soon.

I think a world without machine crochet is probably just as well. Knitting machines work, but they’re big and expensive. Knitting machines are also not very flexible.

Handicrafts are still worthwhile because their low cost, accessibility and creative options are all things machines can’t offer.

Mass Produced Yarn Textiles: Machine Crochet Alternatives

It’s not a secret that customers don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for textile products. Crochet is one of the most expensive fibre crafts to sell, simply because of all the hours it takes to make.

So are there options to produce yarn textiles in large quantities? For sure.

Needlework machines such as weaving needle looms are able to replicate the strength and flexibility of crochet reasonably well. And small, circular knitting machines are fairly affordable even for a solo business owner.

Luckly, this means that businesses are able to sell products at a reasonable price point.

Knit to Use Yarn with A Circular or Warp Knitting Machine

A warp knitting machine is a type of knitting machine that uses multiple yarns to create fabric. The machine consists of a series of needles that are arranged in a warp, or horizontal, pattern. The needles work together to interlace the yarns (the weft), creating a variety of fabrics with different textures and patterns.

Warp knitting machines are used to create fabric for a variety of applications, including clothing, home furnishings, and industrial textiles.

A circular knitting machine is a type of knitting machine that is typically used to knit circular garments such as sweaters and hats. The machine is composed of a series of needles that are arranged in a circle, and the garment is knit by passing the yarn around the needles. The advantage of using a circular knitting machine is that it allows for a continuous knit, which means that there are no seams in the finished garment.

Weaving Looms

A weaving loom is a machine that helps to create fabric by interlacing two sets of yarn at right angles. The first set of threads, called the warp, is strung vertically on the loom. The second set of threads, called the weft, is woven horizontally through the warp.

This process can be done by hand or by machine.

Sewing Machines

Sewing machines are devices that are used to stitch fabrics together. They can be operated by hand or by foot, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles. Sewing machines are used to create a wide variety of garments, from dresses and shirts to pants and skirts.

Support Handmade Handicrafts Like Crochet

There are many good reasons to support handicrafts made by individual crafters. Handmade products are often better quality than mass-produced items, and they usually have more personality and uniqueness.

Yes, they cost more because of the labor involved in making them. Hand crocheting, sewing and knitting all take time and skills.

But buying handmade also supports the artist or craftsman who made the item, and helps to keep these traditional skills and techniques alive.

Forget Crochet Machines & Learn to Crochet Faster

Crocheting is a satisfying hobby that can be learned relatively easily. However, some people find the process of creating a project to be quite slow. If you’re looking to crochet faster, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process.

One way to crochet faster is to choose simple crochet patterns. Amigurumi and other projects with lots of small details can take a long time to complete. If you want to finish your project more quickly, stick to simpler designs.

Another way to crochet more quickly is to use thicker yarns and needle sizes. A thicker ball of yarns works up faster than thinner yarns, so you’ll be able to finish your project in less time. Similarly, using larger needles will also help you work more quickly.

Finally, practice makes perfect! The more you crochet, the faster you’ll become at it. That means that you’ll be whipping out scarves and stuffies in no time!

Conclusion – Can Crochet Be Machine Made?

Hand crocheting is a skill that is impossible for machines to replicate handmade crochet. Even simple stitches like a crochet chain stitch require precise aim and a ton of dexterity.

This means that every time you work, you’ll create totally unique piece with every project. So grab your favorite skein of alpaca yarn, your best bamboo hook, and a free pattern, and get to work!

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